Public Comment

Save the California Public Records Act from State Senate Attack

By Karen Joffe
Friday June 21, 2013 - 07:52:00 AM

I consider the attack on California's Public Records Act a stealth attack on a hard-won citizen right, as is the threat of amending the state constitution to weaken a citizen's ability to obtain public records in an easily accessible format and in a reasonable timeliness. I am an involved citizen who depends on the news media and on access to government records to make informed decisions. 

The issue of who pays for the release of public records, the state or the locality, should be resolved in a public debate not by a political back room maneuver. The same goes for any effort to weaken the CA Public Records Act provisions in the state constitution. 

The overly optimistic statement made by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg about local government compliance without this mandate does not reflect a knowledge of how cleverly evasive local governments can be and how much legal expense they are willing to incur when they do not want to comply with the existing CA Public Records Act , The First Amendment Coalition v. Santa Clara Cty. or Sierra Club v. Orange Cty. being just two recent examples. 

I want this trailer removed from the state budget bill immediately; and, as well, I want California’s state senators to cease efforts to eviscerate constitutional protections to citizen access CA public records.